The AAUP has launched an online journal devoted exclusively to the theory, history, and practice of academic freedom. From their statement:
With this issue we introduce a new online project—the AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom. Scholarship on academic freedom—and on its relation to shared governance, tenure, and collective bargaining—is typically scattered across a wide range of disciplines. People who want to keep up with the field thus face a difficult task. Moreover, there is no one place to track the developing international discussion about academic freedom and its collateral issues. Edited collections and special issues of journals have helped fill the need for many years, but there has been no single journal devoted to the subject. Now there is. It is published by the organization most responsible for defining academic freedom.
And the first issue is impressive, with essays about the role of academic freedom in shared governance; the role of professionalization; graduate students and academic freedom; conference reports; and much else.
Although academic freedom might not appear to fall naturally under ProfHacker’s purview, in fact it is necessary to our whole approach. The whole point of the site is to encourage experimentation in all areas of academic life, and to share best practices. That approach depends on the idea that you are free to pursue the goals of your research and your teaching according to your est lights.
One technical lament: The journal’s online, publishing all the articles in PDF. As the editors say:
Publishing online gives us many advantages, the first being the ability to offer free access to everyone interested. A link to this inaugural issue will go
out by e-mail to nearly 400,000 faculty members. We hope they forward it to students and colleagues everywhere. Online publication also gives us the freedom to publish quite substantial scholarly essays, something that would be much more costly in print.
All true. But, right now, there’s no RSS feed for new issues or articles, and there’s no way to have a conversation about academic freedom at the site itself. (No comments, no discussion boards, etc.) Both of those would seem to be requisite features of any new online journal–especially one devoted to the idea of academic freedom! Hopefully, future iterations will make the site more interactive.
Photo of Cary Nelson by Flickr user wickenden / Creative Commons licensed